What seems like a tangled cloud of open-ended old to-dos is actually a series of independent happenings, which are best treated individually.
Once you’re treating each obligation as separate from the whole bundle of “stuff to-do”, you can see that they each have a very predictable life cycle and it brings in the realm of the concrete.
The moment you start acting on something, you are at the beginning of the end of the anxiety associated with that thing.
Many procrastinators are pessimists and overestimate the difficulty of the task they are avoiding. They think doing it is the hard part. But not doing it is much harder.
Physical action ceases, and pointless overthinking begins.
It comes from a misapprehension of what it will actually be like to do the work.
This anxiety is made of abstract, big-picture emotional concerns, about reputation, legacy, anxiety for the future, self-esteem, comparisons to others — worries about who you are, rather than what you’re doing.
Finishing is only a matter of starting from where you are, as many times as you have to until it’s done.
When negative thoughts appear, stop what you are doing and write them down. Once you’ve slowed down the negative momentum of your thoughts, you will be more rational and clear-headed.
Identifying and labeling your thoughts as thoughts by separating them from the facts will help you escape the cycle of negativity and anxiety and move toward a positive new outlook.
During this allotted break, give yourself permission to do time-wasting activities (social media scrolling included) until you got bored and want to move on to your next task.
Break the project you don't want to start into smaller pieces.
Breaking it down into small tasks and adding those to your to-do list isn't exactly fun, but it is less overwhelming than working. And it's also useful: When you finally do get around to starting, you've got a strategy.